Constantly feel like you're coming up short on sleep? New research shows that getting too few zzz's on a regular basis can increase your risk of developing diabetes. But if you're proud of your ability to sleep for hours on end, we've got some bad news for you too: Too much sleep can also up your risk.
Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine examined the sleep habits of nearly 1,500 men and women between the ages of 53 and 93 years by having them complete questionnaires about the number of hours of sleep they typically get. They then gave the participants blood tests to check their blood sugar levels and glucose tolerance, the results of which can be an early signal of diabetes.
On average, most people reported getting about 7 hours of sleep a night, with 27% reporting less than 6 hours a night and 8% reporting 5 hours or less. Almost 9% reported getting nine or more hours of sleep most nights.
Overall, 21% of the participants were found to have diabetes and a further 28% had impaired glucose tolerance. But compared to people who sleep 7 to 8 hours per night, people who got 5 hours of sleep or less per night were 2.5 times as likely to develop diabetes and 1.3 times as likely to develop impaired glucose tolerance. People who slept 6 hours or less were 1.7 times as likely to develop diabetes and 1.6 times as likely to develop impaired glucose tolerance. People who slept nine hours or more were 1.8 times as likely to develop diabetes and 1.9 times as likely to develop impaired glucose tolerance.
The researchers noted that these results were based on people's voluntary sleep habits, so they don't apply to people with insomnia.
While the reasons for this link are unclear, the researchers speculate that making sure to get adequate sleep could even help control diabetes.
Getting enough sleep, the researchers conclude in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, "is a good practice for a variety of reasons, and this is one more reason."
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